Panthers perform for NFL scouts



Ten former UNI Panthers went through UNI’s Pro Day this past week, performing in front of scouts from many National Football League teams.

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

UNI football hosted its Pro Day on Monday, March 20. Ten of UNI’s players showed off their strengths through drills and workouts. The 10 players who participated were Matthew Vanderslice, Erik Sorensen, Bryce Flater, Korby Sander, Benny Sapp III, Quan Hampton, Deion McShane, Vance McShane, Damien Crumitie and Dom Williams.

Last year, UNI saw Trevor Penning become the first ever Panther to be drafted in the first round. While that seems unlikely to happen this year, some of the players turned in noteworthy performances.

Sapp’s name is likely familiar to the scouts who were there, as his father, Benny Sapp II, played for eight seasons in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins. Sapp fared well at the UNI Pro Day in his own right, leading all 10 players in broad jump at 10 feet, 2 inches, and in the three-cone drill with a time of 6.94 seconds. He also was second overall and first among defensive players in the vertical jump at 35.5 inches. Sapp is coming off an All-American and First Team All-MVFC season. Sapp has already been drafted by the Memphis Showboats with the 27th pick of the USFL Draft.

“I’m never going to stop being hungry. I love this game with a passion. I felt the best about my position drills as being able to show the scouts that while I play safety, I can also play corner,” said Sapp after the event.

Sorensen was not too far behind Sapp in vertical jump at 35 inches. What makes it impressive is that he set a new program record for offensive lineman. He also led the 10 UNI players in the bench press, completing 24 reps of 225 pounds.

Hampton led UNI in both the vertical jump at 37 inches and the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.53 seconds. The McShane brothers were right behind him, with each finishing with a time of 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash and a vertical jump of 34 inches. Deion McShane had the advantage in broad jump, finishing second behind Sapp at 10 feet, 1 inch. He also finished second in the shuttle run with a time of 4.25. Vance McShane was just a tick behind him in the shuttle run at 4.26, but had the slight advantage in the bench reps, getting 19 to his brother’s 18.

Williams led the field in the shuttle run with a time of 4.20 seconds. Crumitie had the second most bench reps at 22 and ran the second-fastest three-cone drill, getting a time of 6.97 seconds. Vanderslice had the longest wingspan of any of the players measured at 84 inches. Sander ran a 4.65 40-yard dash and a 4.28 shuttle run. Flater ran his three-cone drill in 7.19 seconds.

“It’s an exciting day for all of these guys. This is the one day you want to be at your best as you try to beat a time, a clock, a vertical and beat another guy’s numbers. It’s always good to see them all smiling when the day’s over, because you just want to know that you did your best,” said UNI Head Coach Mark Farley.

There were scouts in attendance from the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Commanders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. The NFL Draft takes place Thursday, April 27, through Saturday, April 29.